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Misperceptions and Myths About Modern Contraceptive Use Among the Youth

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High fertility among young people aged 15-24 has been of concerned to African countries. Unwanted pregnancy, unsafe induced abortions and associated high morbidity and mortality among young women may be attributed to low contraceptive use.


Ghana, like the rest of West Africa, has very low contraceptive prevalence and is one of a few nations that reports declines in contraceptive use over time. Fears of side effects, Poor knowledge of how to use modern methods combined with myths and misinformation have been a major setback in contraceptives usage especially among young people.

According to a UNFPA Ghana 2014 report, Current use of modern contraceptives methods among married women stands at 22.2% whiles the use of contraceptives among sexually active but unmarried women stands at 31.7%. Whiles the percentage of married women using contraceptives increased from 17% in 2008 to its currents rate of 22.2% the use of contraceptives among sexually active but unmarried women decreased 33.8% in 2008 to its current 31.7%.

This decline could be attributed to several factors including misconceptions young people have developed over the years about contraceptive use.  Young people seem to worry about the impact of side effects and fear that the side effects are permanent. The fear comes from their own and their peers' experiences, and from misinformation given to them by parents/elders to discourage them from having intercourse.

In an attempt to verify a few of these misconceptions, some female students from the Ghana Institute of Journalism in an interview expressed their knowledge and fears.
 "You see fibroid is caused by blood clot and when you use some of them [hormonal methods] it causes your menses to stop. So the blood remains there and it clots leading to fibroid."

Another student also expressed "I have never experienced it [contraception] before but a sister has. When she did it [The injectable] she was not having her menses but whenever it was time for her menses she had severe menstrual pains and we had to bring her to the hospital for medication before it stops. So we told her to stop but she also says if she stops what will she do?

A few others also revealed that “Some women complain about the  pills making them fat ,My neighbor started having high blood pressure after taking the injection...so she thinks its the effect of the contraceptive though the doctors disagreed”

“Some women complain about having some sort of religious sentiments towards the use of condoms since it makes them feel they are killing unborn children. So they prefer raw and withdrawal methods “

Funny though how some of these responds may be there is the need to intensify contraceptive education especially among the youth with much focus on tackling misconceptions developed over the years.
In general, some students who had never used contraception were fearful of methods based on hearsay or sometimes first-hand accounts of friends, relatives or acquaintances.


Richard Dzikunu
Young Leader Women deliver

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